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Oil tanker burning in the East China Sea sinks

14 January 2018, 02:41 | Taylor George

"There is no hope of finding survivors" Mahmoud Rastad the chief of Iran's maritime agency said

The Panama-registered Iranian oil tanker, Sanchi, with 32 crew members on board, caught on fire after colliding with a Hong Kong cargo ship on January 6, 160 nautical miles (296 km) from China's east coast.

All 32 crew members on board an Iranian oil tanker that's been burning for a week near China's eastern coast are presumed dead, an Iranian official said.

"Currently it has already sunk", CCTV said, citing the Shanghai maritime search and rescue centre.

Black smoke could still be seen billowing from the site of the collision as oil left behind by the tanker continued to burn.

State TV quoted Mahmoud Rastad, the chief of Iran's maritime agency, as saying: "There is no hope of finding survivors among the (missing) 29 members of the crew".

Meanwhile, China's State Oceanic Administration is expanding the range of its monitoring to "quickly ascertain the spread and drift of overflowing oil" from the boat.

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The tanker, owned by National Iranian Tanker Co, was carrying nearly 1 million barrels of condensate, an ultra-light crude oil, to South Korea.

Four salvage workers boarded the board SANCHI at 8:37 am on January 13, and found two bodies on deck in a lifeboat.

This is the latest of dozens of shipping accidents in the region, with the area dubbed "the new Bermuda Triangle", because of the number of ships that founder there.

The crew was all Iranian expect for two Bangladeshis.

It collided with the CF Crystal, which was carrying grain from the United States, about 184 kilometres off China's coast near Shanghai.



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